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Putin: Russia didn't hack US election

December 23, 2016

At his annual end-of-year press conference, Russian President Putin bemoaned US Democratic Party members for "accusing someone else" for their election defeat. He has also called Donald Trump's nuclear comments "normal."

Russland Jahrespressekonferenz Wladimir Putin
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/Y. Kochetkov

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday denied that Russia directly influenced this year's US election.

Speaking at his annual end-of-year press conference with Russian and international journalists in Moscow, Putin said the Democratic Party was wrongly trying to blame its defeat to Republican Donald Trump on "external factors."

In October, website WikiLeaks published some 60,000 emails hacked from the Democratic National Convention. In the run-up to the election, the email hack dominated the news cycle.

American intelligence agencies have since found that the Kremlin was directly involved in the hack, allegations that Putin has adamantly denied.

"Losers always look for ways to accuse someone else," Putin said on Friday, accusing US Democrats of using Russia as a scapegoat for their defeat.

"They (the Democrats) are losing on all fronts and looking elsewhere for things to blame," Putin said. "In my view this degrades their own dignity. You have to know how to lose with dignity."

The President then emphasized that it was more important to scrutinize what was exposed in the leak, rather than who was behind it. Putin said the emails showed how the Democratic Party was manipulating public opinion in favor of Hilary Clinton and at the expense of Bernie Sanders, her rival in the primaries. 

"The party that is called the Democrats has clearly forgotten the original meaning of that name," he said. "The use of administrative resources (by the Democrats) is absolutely shameless."

Swagger expected at Putin press conference

Putin wants "business-like relationship" with Trump 

Putin welcomed the election of US President-elect Trump during his press conference. He praised Trump for "understanding the mood of the people."

"[Trump] kept going until the end, when nobody believed in him, except us," Putin said, to great applause.

The Russian president also dismissed the significance of comments made by the president-elect on Thursday on the US nuclear capabilities. Trump tweeted: "The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes."

While many expressed concern over Trump's comments, Putin said he was not surprised by the statement. Trump's comments came shortly after Putin had said Russia needed to develop weapons capable of defeating and missile shield technology.

"As concerns the new president-elect of the United States, Mr. Trump, there is nothing new here," he said. "During his election campaign, he spoke about the necessity of strengthening the nuclear component of the United States, to strengthen the armed forces. There is nothing unusual here."

The Russian President said he expected a "normalization" in relations with the US, with Trump in the White House. He stressed that we would be ready to visit the US once again should the President-elect invite him. 

Putin also decried the Obama administration, accusing it of suffering from systemic problems. Obama, he said, had split the nation; it was up to Trump to unite it again.

Putin also said that many Republican voters in the US shared many ideas with him about world order.

"They are people who share our traditional values,” he said.

dm/sms (Reuters, AFP)